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The problem of identifying and counting rolling leukocytes within intravital microscopy is of both theoretical and practical interest. Currently, methods exist for tracking rolling leukocytes in vivo, but these methods rely on manual detection of the cells. In this paper we propose a technique for accurately detecting rolling leukocytes based on Bayesian classification. The classification depends on a feature score, the gradient inverse coefficient of variation (GICOV), which serves to discriminate rolling leukocytes from a cluttered environment. The leukocyte detection process consists of three sequential steps: the first step utilizes an ellipse matching algorithm to coarsely identify the leukocytes by finding the ellipses with a locally maximal GICOV. In the second step, starting from each of the ellipses found in the first step, a B-spline snake is evolved to refine the leukocytes boundaries by maximizing the associated GICOV score. The third and final step retains only the extracted contours that have a GICOV score above the analytically determined threshold. Experimental results using 327 rolling leukocytes were compared to those of human experts and currently used methods. The proposed GICOV method achieves 78.6% leukocyte detection accuracy with 13.1% false alarm rate.
Date of Publication: July 2005